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December 05, 2003

Comments

Alex Parker

I dunno, yesterday's turkey story was buried on page A33, and it caused a big ruckus with the right.

Hmmmm...as long as he didn't say "secret plan," maybe its OK. On the other hand, William Safire recently said that Nixon never actually used those exact words, and assured us that he had won bets on that.

TM

Good point. I was thinking about mentioning a secret plan - if only a few different neurons had flickered, you could have pounced. Or won a bet.

John Thacker

Clark is even luckier that he wasn't quoted in the New York Times saying that he would have had a "final solution" to the Mideast peace problem, like President Carter recently was.

Certain phrases should be avoided when talking about the Middle East.

Paul Barba

In response to Gen. Clark's comments. He said: "You say, Exactly how many troops do you need? It depends what the mission is. I need to see all the facts."

If he doesn't yet have all the facts, how can he citicize Bush's policies? How can he claim we are going in the wrong direction if he hasn't analyzed what is really going on there.....Sounds like spin to me

Emma

Clark is running the poorest campaign since Al Gore. Pretty much the whole shebang comes down to this: I can whip George's butt on the Iraq issue. Wouldn't you think that the argument would be pretty well established by this point, if that's the whole campaign. The press will give him a walk on insignficant issues like gay marriage if he has a plan on Iraq. Failing that, it's not unreasonable to ask whether the man has any plans about anything or even a plan to get some plans anytime soon.

Which is why, of course, Dennis Kucinich is in such a strong position. Forget Clark: DK is your insurgent!

TM

We're OK for DK! Cuckoo for Kucinich!

But actually, Ms. Emma articulates the General's problem nicely - if he can't convince the press of his credibility on Iraq, why even show up?

Forbes

Clark says W needs a plan with a timeline-- Hillary says it needs to be more flexible and open ended. Go figure, maybe Bush is doing it right after all!

Alex Parker

Clark is so much the right candidate on paper, it's tough to understand why it doesn't come out in practice. I still think he is the only Democrat who can fulfil Mickey Kaus's Pedro Martinez metaphor.

I'm still holding out faith that his campaign get its act together. Maybe his staff is busy compiling a plan, which, when unveiled, will be so astoundingly good that Bush just concedes before the primary is even over.

For what it's worth, I don't think that any of the other Democrats have coherent plans. Dean has been amazingly flip-floppy on this, calling for increased American involvement one day and then a complete American pull-out the next. Why oh why were these the best guys to pick?

sym

It's funny how in situations like this, you should always give a few random details and say that's your plan. Noone in the press will analyze any details anyways. Bloggers might fisk, but noone cares what they think ;).
Just don't say "I have no plan." Telling the press a moronic plan is way better than telling the press nothing.

Emma

"For what it's worth, I don't think that any of the other Democrats have coherent plans."

To be fair, I haven't heard a decent plan from anyone. The current plan couldn't be called coherent, either. And in the case of some of the Dems--Dean mainly--access to intel isn't anywhere near what it would need to be to have a final plan. We can't reasonably expect a Dem to know what to do in clear detail.

But I know--this blog isn't the best one to foist off my Democratic apologies. Never mind, I will anyway.

mitchell freedman

Meanwhile, the polls around various primary states show Clark in the lead or surging. Too much inside baseball going on. Clark has a narrative that is tough to take down by a reporter without the reporter looking unAmerican.

Don't think the Republicans don't know that. That's why they may be leaving Clark alone, hoping the Dem activists who are pushing Dean, Kucinich, Kerry, Gep, and Edwards will do the job for them.

And yes, Nixon never said he had a secret plan. However, when an election campaign reporter used that phrase in a question, Nixon not only never challenged it--he also kept saying on the trail that he didn't want to reveal his plan until after he was elected. Safire may win a bet on the most narrow terms, but not overall. See the Mazo (and another co-author) book on Nixon. Mazo was sympathetic to Nixon, too, I should add in case any Safire fans want to flame here...

em

Clark knows what he he wants to accomplish in Iraq and he knows in overall terms how he wants to get there. But when you ask a 4 star General if he has a plan, well he thinks your expecting him to whip out a fully articulated, detailed, hundred or thousand page battle plan. Of course you can't expect him to work out such an in depth battle plan at this stage of the game, without access to current, precise numbers of the resources on the ground and their condition.

But what the press means when it asks for a plan is what Clark calls a strategy. His strategy, or general overall plan if you will, is fully articulated on his website at http://www.clark04.com/issues/iraqstrategy

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